Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
"So you have to suffer?" Park asked.
Gregor laughed, surprised by the harsh crow bark of it. The sound had escaped his throat on its own. "It's really not as bad as all that. It's more uncomfortable than endangering. After this Heat passes I should be all right. My body will have a chance to adapt and I'll be fine. No permanent damage."
"That's good," Park said. "I still would have thought they could give you *something* to ease the transition, even if it was just a heat pad or a hot water bottle."
"I'm fine," Gregor said, trying to make it sound true.
For the most part he knew his biology was handling itself admirably and he was going to come through this first Heat perfectly all right. It was just unfortunate that in the meantime–with the Heat boiling the intelligence from his brain–he wanted to jump Park's bones.
At the very least he wanted to see what Magister Dylan Park hid under the layers of his clothes. He wanted to peel that thick jacket off and slide off those black gloves. He wanted to caress every bit of Park's naked skin with his tongue.
"Can you get me something to drink?" Gregor coughed into his fist before giving Park a pleading look. "I feel parched."
Park rose to his feet graceful. "I will be right back."
Gregor didn't trust himself to speak as he watched Park leave the room. The instant the door closed behind him, Gregor slumped back in his chair with a quiet groan.
He covered his face with his hands and tried to fool himself into thinking everything would be all right. It wasn't like he was helplessly lusting after someone he would never be allowed to have.
He cursed the hormones rushing through his body. They scrambled his wits and gave him a false sense that everything would be all right if he just wanted it enough. They'd even started him thinking that having sex with Park would be a good idea because everything would just magically work itself out afterward.
Gregor was beginning to understand why some called the Heat a Madness. It hadn't even started for him yet and he already felt half-crazed, his body filed with so much want that it was a wonder he could breathe.
The door opened and he sat up, forcing his spine not to sag. Park came in with a glass of red juice and a small plate of what looked like scones.
"I only asked for something to drink," Gregor teased, accepting the offering with hands he pretended weren't trembling. He thought maybe his blood sugar was low.
"You barely ate your lunch," Park said. He wandered over to the bookcase and peered at the titles, his hands clasped behind his back. "Are any of these books of interest to you?"
Gregor shrugged. "They came with the room."
"Hm." Park turned away from the books. "I'll have someone being you a catalogue to choose from. I'm a firm believer that a good book is like a good friend, and from what I see here you've been stuck with a collection of giggling ninnies."
Gregor wasn't sure how he was supposed to respond. Park may have just been talking about the books, or he might have just insulted Gregor's taste in friends. It was hard to tell because his expression had stayed as taciturn as always. He was impossible to read.